The recent coverage on Phorm and its targeted advertising system has revealed that 121Media who has since become Phorm were involved in an 18,000 customer trial with BT Retail according to an exclusive on The Register. The trial which took place without the customers knowledge between 23rd September and 6th October 2006.
It would appear the trial created profiles for the 18,000 customers and then through advertising space purchased on various sites, the profiles were used to present an advert most likely to get a positive response from the consumer.
If the information about the 2006 trial is correct it raises many questions of what a broadband provider can do and cannot do with customers data passing through them. Assurances of no personally identifiable data being kept by the Phorm system may look slightly more hollow to sceptics, and looking at the bigger picture one wonders what providers will do for the promise of a few million pounds.